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Destination Dispatches: Stars and a Good Night’s Sleep in Paris

- Mary Gostelow, arguably the most-traveled, and most-traveling, lady of the 21st century. She is owner and president of The Gostelow Report, essential monthly market intelligence briefing for the top levels of the hospitality industry. She is also contributing editor to Elite Traveler, The Private Jet Lifestyle Magazine and EnRoute.

Mandarin Oriental Paris hosted a star-studded party September 22nd, 2011, to celebrate its official opening.

There were names of the caliber of Maggie Cheung, Alain Delon, Pierre Gagnaire, Hélène Grimaud, Vanessa Mae, Liam Neeson and Kenzo Takada. The Guangzhou Acrobatic Troupe of China performed, and Blanca Li designed a dance of the fans, based on Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s fan symbol. Béatrice Ardisson designed the sound, and Thierry Marx, who runs the two restaurants in the hotel, designed the food. “This chic gala was the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of our luxury brand to Paris,” said Edouard Ettedgui, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s French CEO.

While I could not make the gala, I stayed in the hotel’s divine 419 corner suite two nights later. The suite is beautiful, a colorful fantasy of sandalwood and a variety of golds. I loved the Bollinger-colored soft leather stationery compendium and matching trays for jewellery. I oohed and awed at a clear plastic bag-shaped box with leather handles; a magazine rack that mimics a handbag. I loved the drapes, full-length shades of golden raw silk. Twisted cords are threaded through the inner side of each pair of curtains: pull them together, twist the said cords and they hold tight, blocking out all light.

I adored the entire fitness area, with a 25-yard indoor pool whose upper walls show continuous butterfly silhouettes as you swim (most of the images are soft gray but every now and again a pink butterfly shape pops up, and disappears). There is a serious gym, with the very latest Antonio Citterio-designed Technogym pieces, and there is a serious spa.

But this is also a fun hotel. Thierry Marx’s finer dining restaurant is like a white space ship, and many of your minimum of six courses come in glass or China bento boxes. The more casual restaurant, overlooking the highly popular courtyard garden, has a Hobbit-like inner alcove with metallic-encrusted fake windows and hosts a pair of goldfish in a bowl.

And what is also fun, of course, is that this amazing hotel is right on Rue Saint-Honoré with all its shopping.

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